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Fico and Šramko: Slovak economy could slide into recession in 2009

Slovak central bank (NBS) governor Ivan Šramko and Prime Minister Robert Fico on Tuesday, March 31, conceded that the Slovak economy could slide into recession in 2009.

Slovak central bank (NBS) governor Ivan Šramko and Prime Minister Robert Fico on Tuesday, March 31, conceded that the Slovak economy could slide into recession in 2009.

Recent assessments by the NBS and the Finance Ministry projected GDP growth of around 2 percent for this year, the TASR newswire wrote. However, several analysts have begun predicting a slump.

“I can't rule out negative growth, but don’t jump ahead of actual events,” Šramko said on the sidelines of a session of the Economic Crisis Council.

Šramko also announced that the central bank would discuss medium-term predictions for the Slovak economy later on Tuesday.

Fico pointed out that Slovakia is still doing better than most eurozone-member countries.

“Economic production is expected to fall by 3 percent in the eurozone as a whole, while even the most pessimistic prognoses say that Slovakia is still 2 percentage points above the eurozone average, a fact that shows that Slovakia is in good economic condition,” he said.

Possible further measures aimed at supporting various segments of the economy cannot be introduced, Fico said, at the expense of a deterioration in the public finance deficit, something on which all members of the Economic Crisis Council agreed. He added that there is also no sense in pouring in further resources to stimulate the economy ‘at any cost’.

Fico said that the Council session also discussed the possibility of decreasing taxes and levies. “No one – except for representatives of the opposition – promulgates decreasing levies and taxes under the current circumstances,” he said, stating that this would create a hole in the state's financial resources. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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